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[directory-discuss] Is a repo with just a COPYING file GPL-X-only or GPL

From: David Seaward
Subject: [directory-discuss] Is a repo with just a COPYING file GPL-X-only or GPL-X-or-later?
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:23:26 +0200

Hi all,

This is an issue I encounter from time to time. It is a common
convention to include the full license text in a file named COPYING (or
LICENSE) in the root folder of a repo. Sometimes, the developer:

* does nothing more (no copyright byline in the README or anywhere
* only includes a copyright line in the README ("Copyright 2010 R.
Hacker"), but no paragraph explicitly saying "or any later version"

If the developer has done this, and the COPYING file contains the full
text of GPLv2 or GPLv3, does this mean:

* the repo is covered by GPL-version-X-only
* the repo is covered by GPL-version-X-or-later
* the situation is ambiguous (cannot be determined from the repo alone)


P.S. Cross-posted at
6 (despite the name, this site covers free, libre and open source

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